A frog at the Rainforest Café © Seleba Ouattara
The Rainforest Café
Perhaps the closest thing to dining in the actual Amazon, the Rainforest Café boasts “part adventure, part restaurant, and wholly entertaining for the whole family!” (Rainforest Café, Main Website) The café uses a beautiful setup of foliage, animal sculptures, fountains, and rainforest ambiance to create the perfect replica of an actual rainforest. It serves as both a souvenir shop and fantastic dining experience for families at a reasonable price.
Sea lions sunbathing in the afternoon © Seleba Ouattara
The Sea Lions of PIER 39
They began inhabiting the K-Dock of PIER 39 after an earthquake in 1989, and they haven’t really left since. According to the San Francisco Sea Lion Center, these slippery sun-bathers total over 1,700 in number, and serve to teach tourists and city dwellers alike the importance of protecting sea life in the Pacific Ocean.
Lefty’s store sign © Seleba Ouattara
Lefty’s the Left Hand Store
For righties, it’s an unusual experience. For lefties, it’s heaven on Earth. In a world that caters mostly to right-handed folk, Lefty’s in San Francisco is understandably a fresh breath of air for left-handed friends. Lefty’s has been selling both everyday and novelty items (including guitars!) to the left-handed since 1978.
Lefty’s San Francisco , Pier 39, San Francisco, CA (415) 445-0141
Entrance to the Aquarium of the Bay © Seleba Ouattara
Aquarium of The Bay
Next to the sea lions, the Aquarium of The Bay serves as another great opportunity to learn about sea life in the Bay and Pacific Ocean. Patrons of the aquarium could potentially interact with about 20,000 different species of Bay Area sea life, including octopi and sharks. A day spent at the Aquarium of the Bay is a truly mesmerizing experience for both young and old alike.
Entrance to Ripley’s Believe it or Not! © Seleba Ouattara
A house for all things unusual, Ripley’s of Fisherman’s Wharf has provided bizarre attractions for San Francisco since 1918. This museum of oddities boasts over 10,000 square feet of creepy, cool, and just plain weird. From centuries-old mummified body parts, to a Transformer built completely from scrap car parts, Ripley’s definitely caters to the curiosity of all, no matter their interests.
Across the street from the Exploratorium © Seleba Ouattara
There are many educational opportunities and experiences in San Francisco alone, and the Exploratorium on Fisherman’s Wharf is among the most interactive of them all. Founded in 1969, this scientific playground has never failed to meld ongoing research and art together for the masses. Its iconic exhibits are all designed with the purpose of entertaining AND educating people of all ages and learning backgrounds.
In-N-Out Burger © Seleba Ouattara
Arguably one of the best burger chains on the west coast, In-N-Out found its way to Fisherman’s Wharf in 1992. You can either choose items from the original menu, or get creative with the well-known and delicious “Secret Menu”. Either way, any choice definitely makes an experience here worthwhile.
Main entrance of Ghirardelli Square © Seleba Ouattara
At night, the well-known sign glitters at the waterfront of San Francisco. A beautiful restoration of the chocolate factory established late 17th century, Ghirardelli Square is home to many unique boutiques and fine dining experiences, including the premiere Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop.
Ghirardelli Square , 900 Point Street, San Francisco, CA (415) 775-5500
Inside Boudin’s Bakery © Seleba Ouattara
Boudin Bakery SF
No trip to San Francisco is complete without eating chowder in a sourdough bread bowl, and Boudin Bakery can definitely satisfy that need. Since 1849, Boudin has been credited for creating the iconic “San Francisco-style” sourdough French bread, using a centuries-old family recipe. The museum and bakery is currently home to culinary history, great food, and artistic bread-pieces.
Boudin SF , 160 Jefferson Street, San Francisco, CA (415) 928-1849
“Laffing Sal” at Museé Mécaniqué © Seleba Ouattara
A step into antiquity, Museé Mécaniqué is home to over 200 privately-owned classic mechanical music machines and arcade games. Relocated to Fisherman’s Wharf in 2002, the museum pays homage to the days of San Francisco’s Playland, formerly located near the Great Highway and Ocean Beach. Patrons can watch a self-playing piano, have a mechanical grandmother read their fortune, or even try their luck with the love-tester machine, for a relatively low price. It is truly meant to be a blast from the past for older patrons, and an interactive history lesson for the young.
by Seleba Ouattara